The best places in Arizona for Stargazing

Boasting everything from beautiful deserts and silent mountains to bustling cities with sophisticated shops and galleries, The Grand Canyon state is an unforgettable destination. Many people also head to Sedona for stargazing due to it’s clear skies and low-light-level. 

Whether you’re visiting to see the world-famous sights, relax, experience the rich culture and history, or rejuvenate in one of the luxury spas; Arizona has it all and more. Of the 50 states in the USA, Arizona stands out as one of the most vivid and vibrant, with breath-taking scenery and awe-inspiring attractions at every turn. Arizona really is the best place on earth for stargazing.

Arizona may be home to one of the Seven Wonders of the natural world, but going beyond the Grand Canyon is a must- with adult or family adventure, wellness, heritage, cuisine and culture all awaiting your discovery.

arizona sedona stargazing

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Arizona for Stargazing

Arizona is one of the four corner states and divides, roughly, into three geological zones: the deserts of the south and west, the mountainous central highlands, and the northern Colorado Plateau. Arizona’s two major metropolises, Greater Phoenix and Metropolitan Tucson are located in the Sonoran Desert, lush with saguaros, other cacti and punctuated by several mountain ranges.

In Arizona, accommodation options are virtually limitless. Choose from ranches where guests can learn to ride like a true cowboy and luxurious spa resorts where guests can relax and recharge in a tranquil setting. Arizona’s hotels and lodgings come in all shapes and sizes including quaint bed and breakfasts, roadside motels, world-class resorts and rustic cabin rentals.

The natural phenomenon of the night sky is particularly enhanced in Arizona – where desert land and clear skies ensure the perfect stargazing conditions.

The state is also home to the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA), which exists to combat light pollution and raise awareness of the value of dark skies and the importance of environmentally responsible outdoor lighting. Throughout Arizona there are world-class locations for stargazing and here are five of the best.

So here is my recommendation for stargazing in Arizona…

stargazing usa

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The best places in Arizona for Stargazing


Identified as the world’s first-ever “International Dark Sky City,” Flagstaff, Arizona is a true stargazing paradise. A little-known fact is that every Apollo 11 astronaut was trained in Flagstaff and that the moon was mapped in Lowell Observatory, ahead of the journey.

The observatory is famously known as the site where Pluto was discovered in 1930. Today, astronomy enthusiasts can take part in guided daytime tours to the 24-inch Clark Telescope, as well as evening programmes that include an open house at the Putnam Collection Centre where visitors can watch science demonstrations and examine historic items from Lowell’s extensive collection.


The best places in Arizona for Stargazing

Grand Canyon

In 2019 the Grand Canyon National Park earned its International Day Sky status; the park has 67% of its lighting compliant with lighting standards and hopes to reach 90% by 2022. Star-lit summer nights can be spent gazing at the wondrous galaxies that make up the Grand Canyon’s patterned sky.

Each year stargazers are invited to the Grand Canyon Star Party, held this year, between the 13th and 22nd June at the North and South Rim. The Star Party will celebrate one of the most breath-taking observational sites in the US, encouraging amateur astronomers from across the country to volunteer their expertise and offer free nightly astronomy programmes and telescope viewings.

sedona stargazing

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The best places in Arizona for Stargazing


Surrounded by towering red rocks and wide desert-scapes, Sedona is a spectacular Dark Sky Community. For those looking for a relaxing getaway paired with stargazing opportunities, Enchantment Resort is the ideal retreat.

On a weekly basis, star-lovers are invited to meet with expert astronomers and using an array of professional equipment, will observe planets, distant galaxies and a canopy of stars all in the comfort of the resort. Not only will guests be taught about the night sky but they will feel its influence with unique treatments inspired by the cycle of the moon, such as the New Moon therapy (offered exclusively on days around the new moon).


The best places in Arizona for Stargazing


Mount Lemmon SkyCenter is home to the largest dedicated series of public telescopes in the United States, making it the ultimate stargazing destination for astronomers of all levels.

Stargazing programmes, known as ‘SkyNights’ are offered nightly, year-round, allowing novices and enthusiasts alike to gaze upon constellations and atmospheric phenomena through Arizona’s largest public viewing telescope (the 32-inch Schulman telescope).  Tucson is home to the IDA and the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Association that holds various activities and night sky viewings.

sedona stargazing

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The best places in Arizona for Stargazing


Bathed in soft golden hues of sunlight, the views of Verde Canyon from an open-air railroad car are simply breath-taking. A canyon tour by moonlight has long been one of the locomotive’s most popular journeys and the train’s headlights are the only lighting in the canyon.

The ride takes place on select Saturdays, during August and September, where passengers can sip Champagne in first class and enjoy 360-degree panoramic views of the celestial wonders that stretch across the rugged canyon.


Upcoming stargazing events:

April 2020

  • Roosevelt: Park After Dark: Our Future in Space Exploration at Tonto National Monument
  • Benson: Star Party at Kartchner Caverns

May 2020

June 2020

July 2020

August 2020


Where to stay in Arizona?

Miraval Arizona Resort, Tucson, Arizona

Nestled in the blissful seclusion of the Sonoran Desert, Miraval Arizona is the ultimate A-List health destination, given the seal of approval by non-other than Oprah. The vast and diverse array of classes spanning from Cardio Kickboxing to Fitlates ensure a well-rounded and challenging fitness retreat.  The resort remains a Mecca for Hollywood’s elite on account of its secluded location,  guests can hike with a therapist or take a unique Equine therapy course.

Lake Powell, Arizona

A houseboat on Lake Powell offers one of the most unique stays in Arizona. The stunning waters of the lake set against the red-gold canyons, peaks and buttes of Glen Canyon Recreational Area provide picture-perfect surroundings. Guests can also explore one of the region’s many mysterious underground slot canyons – with a local guide, some of whom offer jeep or Hummer tours as part of the adventure.

Canyon Ranch, Tucson, Arizona

Canyon Ranch in Tucson boasts clean air, scenic hikes and inspiring landscapes while showcasing one of the finest luxury spa complexes in North America. Canyon Ranch invites guests to discover their ‘Good Life’ and help them feel better in all aspects of their life. Guests can indulge with an international array of spa treatments or opt for a more specific, targeted programme. Their specialist ‘7 days to change’ programme provides each guest with a dedicated wellness teacher, on-hand throughout their stay to help them achieve their health and fitness goals.

Castle Hot Springs, Arizona

Castle Hot Springs boasts the title of being Arizona’s first luxury resort and is a perfect place for a retreat. For centuries, the Castle Hot Springs area was a medicinal healing site for the Yavapai and Apache Indians. Castle Hot Springs caters to guests seeking seclusion, adventure, and relaxation. From a guided yoga or meditation class on a manicured lawn to an invigorating hike through the surrounding Bradshaw Mountains there is something for everyone.


Have you been to Arizona or Sedona stargazing?

arizona stargazing

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My Travel Tips and Recommendations


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  • Louise Joy
    04/21/2020 at 12:11

    This is such a great post – I’ve always wanted to visit and stay in Arizona. I visited briefly last year but we didn’t stay. However, I remember staying just outside of Joshua Tree and going outside one night and being absolutely taken back with how many stars I could see. I love stargazing so will definitely bookmark this post!